Thursday, January 17, 2008

From 33 to minus 3 ~ Initial Reactions

Early in December last year, I quit my job and went back to Australia for holidays, planning on returning to do one last year in Korea in 2008.
I absolutely LOVED my time back home; the weather, the food, catching up with friends and family, and living in my parents' gorgeous house. I loved having a backyard. I was amazed by the incredible blue sky and the beauty of gum trees everywhere.
I was struck by the differences between the two countries in a way I hadn't been when I had returned from Korea the first time.

Although Korea had become "home" in the last two years, I had mixed feelings (mostly negative) about returning, which I attributed to the relaxing bliss of being on holidays with absolutely nothing I absolutely HAD to do. I know that I tend towards laziness, and I was in my element.

Almost 24 hours after leaving Adelaide, I arrived back in Korea and depression hit me like a low front. It doesn't really help that the airport is situated in a dingy part of the outskirts of the city, and in contrast to my fresh experience of Australia, the country looked and felt dirty, ugly, industrial, impersonal, gray, and frozen (well, actually, it WAS frozen. That wasn't just my perception). The contrast between the two cities (Adelaide and Busan) struck me as it never has before. Whereas Adelaide seems to exist in harmony with nature, Busan seems to have fought a war (and won) against it; as though masses of concrete and twisted metal had fallen from the sky, crushing all natural beauty in its way.

Thankfully, I live in one of the nicer areas of the city, but when I look out of my dirty window (the outside uncleanable), I don't see grass and a garden. I see the side of the building on the otherside of the street, and the small area of nature I can see is on frozen dirt and ugly scrawny trees (seriously, nothing beats gums).

In case you're getting the wrong idea, I'm not necessarily "unhappy and depressed" to be back, and that's not the purpose of this post, anyway. Rather, I'm merely documenting a perception of the city that has never struck me in the same way, or to this degree before.

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